Saturday March 14th 2009
The Kings of Leon. The Kings of Leon were a pack of bastards. Obsessed with reconquering Iberia from the Moors. "Hey" I'd say to them "The Moors aren't that bad. They're people just like you". "But they're evil!" they'd say "The Pope says so!" and how can you really argue against the Pope?
The Kings of Aragon were just as bad, with the added complication of an appalling amount of inbreeding. Knock-kneed, hump-backed dwarves the lot of them. And the lisps! A five minute conversation with one of them and you'd need a shower and change of clothes. And believe me, showering facilities in 12th century Zaragoza weren't exactly up to scratch.
The food was great though - Aragon had the best cooks in the whole of Iberia. A meal at the royal court was almost worth all the spit. Some people will tell you the palace of Cordova was the place for fine cuisine, but the Umayyads had nothing on the cooks of Aragon. The things they could do with a duck, some cloves and some oranges would make you weep.
Charlemagne, he was a decent sort. Great company - the stories he could tell! I remember one time he had the whole Synod of Frankfurt in hysterics with a story about a gluttonous donkey. His one big regret was never learning to write properly. "Charlie" I'd say "You've got scribes to handle that for you", but he was always embarrassed about it. "Even Abul can write better than I!" he'd exclaim and throw his quill (or when drunk - as he often was - his flagon) across the room, and his wife would have to talk him down and remind him that Abul was an elephant and hence couldn't write at all. But apart from that he was a great bloke.
Can't say the same about Pippin, but that's another story.
File under: Lies
Apparently he was on the Enclave payroll all along...
Friday March 13th 2009
Anyone who visits this blog regularly (not that I necessarily believe such a curious beast to exist) will have noticed a lot of activity lately. This is because I am "Making an Effort". I'm trying my best to write something every night just to keep my hand in, and to try and catch up to Helen who recently hit 600 posts despite her blog being younger than mine. Such a discrepancy cannot be allowed to stand! *grin*
That being said, I am extremely tired after a hard week's work trying to interpret the heavily accented mumblings of a man who looks uncannily like the Vault Overseer from the original Fallout (I keep expecting him to ask me to find a water chip), and have very little stomach for writing. So this entry will be short, if not necessarily sweet.
I will say before going however that if you have any money spare (a rare occurrence in this time of economic crisis I know) or you just feel like being charitable, there are a lot worse causes to send your money to than that of Hollis Hawthorne. Rather than try and compose an explanation in my own words I shall liberally quote from the post on Whitechapel (by one Theremina) that alerted me and many others to her plight...
[Hollis Hawthorne] is a performer, cyclist, and activist who lives in SF. I only kinda sorta barely know her through mutual friends, but by all accounts, she's just the most radiant, beautiful person. She moves in many of the same circles I do, and has donated her time to many of the same nonprofit events.
Late last month, Hollis was traveling by motor scooter in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, India when something terrible happened. Some sort of freak hit-and-run accident that wasn't her fault left her bleeding out on the side of the road with her boyfriend Harrison frantically performing CPR for 20 minutes before a van of German tourists picked them up and drove them to a hospital. According to her best pal Eliza, Hollis was wearing her helmet and driving very slowly at the time of the accident. Now she's in a coma in a rural hospital with a serious brain stem injury.
According to Harrison, who has been with her from the moment it happened, "there are huge rats scurrying around on the [hospital] floor. I am sleeping on the ant-covered floor outside her room as I am not allowed in and the water they have used for many procedures is not even purified." When Hollis's mom flew in from Tennessee a couple of days ago with emergency support from the US consulate to see her own daughter, the orderlies were dismissive and curt. "They are not observing her brain pressure and have done nothing to alleviate the swelling in her brain. These are things that can make or break her early on in her recovery and healing process."
Through a series of fortuitous connections, her case has been reviewed and accepted by Stanford Medical; one of the best hospitals in the world ... All we need to do is get her there. The friends and family of Hollis are reaching out to everyone they can to raise funds to get her on an I.C.U. plane (aka air ambulance) to fly her back to California.
Before that can happen, Friends of Hollis must raise $150,000 dollars. They've already raised approximately $40,000, and more is pouring in all the time, mostly in small denominations. Can you spare a dollar, or five, or ten? It adds up more quickly than you'd think!
Yes, I know, life is risk, and life is uncertain. Life is also precious. If, in some small way, we can help someone in our community to come back from the brink, we really should. Click here to help, and please spread the word, if you can. This is what the internet is for.
Now yes, that all sounds like some kind of more creative than normal Nigerian mail scam, but it's all on the level and - while her situation has improved with movement to a much better hospital and she's starting to show signs of recovery - money to get her home is still desperately needed. So, if you feel like doing something good for the world and helping out a stranger - not to mention being part of a growing group of helpers and well-wishers scattered all around the world, click on the link above. If not, whatever.
That's my good deed for the week. Denys sleep now.
File under: Current Events
I am the Wombat
Thursday March 12th 2009
If you fell foul of a witch, what animal would you be turned into?
I rather think I'd turn into a wombat. Wombats are antipodean and rotund, like myself. They like to sleep, but can be tenacious when the mood takes them. They waddle along in an amusing fashion but with a look of determination that seems to say, "Yes, I may be round and antipodean and have an amusing waddle, but I have things to be doing, so please move aside".
Yeah, I reckon I'd be a wombat.
PS: Big congrats to Ali and Matt! :D
File under: My Oh So Amazing Life
The Hideous Horrors of Home Hygiene
Wednesday March 11th 2009
Oh! How I hate to wash up in the morning,
Oh how I hate to wash up at all!
But the unkindest cut to date's,
When I run out of cups and plates,
You've gotta wash up!
You've gotta wash up!
You've gotta wash up this morning!
You've gotta wash up!
You've gotta wash up!
You've gotta wash up today!
I composed this charming ditty some years ago when once again faced with a gigantic heap of cutlery and crockery piled up on my kitchen sink. It is based (of course) on Irving Berlin's Oh how I hate to wake up in the Morning which itself is based on the traditional reveille of the US Army.
(Irving Berlin, there's an interesting fellow. Coming from a poor and Jewish background (in a time when being Jewish was a major social disadvantage) he managed to create a career as America's best loved songsmith. He fell in love with a non-Jewish girl whose wealthy father was scandalised at the thought of her marrying not just a Jew, but a working class Jew, and sent her off on a round the world cruise in the hopes she'd forget about him. Irving kept in touch with her via letter for the whole journey and wrote Always one of his biggest hits for her. They got married almost immediately on her return. Irving was pretty much persona-non-gratia with his in-laws until the stock market crash of 1929 when his wife's father lost huge sums of money and found himself heavily in debt. Irving was still pulling in cash hand over fist despite the economic collapse (or perhaps because of it - it can be argued that the worse things get the more people need songs) and paid off all his debts, refusing to hear a thing about being payed back. From that point on he was a welcome member of the family. Or at least that's the story I heard. But I digress.)
The reason I detail this rather awful parody of an American classic is that, once again, I find myself confronted with a sink piled high with used plates. This is because (as the song suggests) I hate doing the washing up. I hate spending time on a menial and slightly disgusting chore when I could be doing other far more interesting things. Which means that I tend to use every bit of crockery and cutlery I have (eating my dinner off saucers is by no means unheard of) until I completely run out and have no choice but to buckle down and do it.
Now yes, I could get a dishwasher, but frankly I've never liked them. They're big, noisy, use criminal amounts of water and (in my admittedly limited experience) don't do a terribly good job anyway. You have to wash down the plates and cups and things before putting them in, and then have to finish the job by manually scrubbing off tough stains and dried food bits that the machine missed. This is frankly not very efficient, and I won't have a bar of it.
So I am once again doomed to spending the next forty minutes or so with my hands submerged in soapy and increasingly filthy water, trying to find drying space for the huge piles of cups, knives, forks and plates that have accumulated in my kitchen for the last week. And once again I will promise to myself to do the washing up on a nightly basis. And once again I shall immediately break that promise and start the whole process over again.
I'm gonna need a bigger sink.
File under: My Oh So Amazing Life